Objectives To develop a novel diagnostic protein in order to enhance early detection of syphilis infections and improve overall syphilis diagnosis.
Methods Using pooled serum samples from patients infected with syphilis, immunoreactive regions of two previously identified diagnostic protein candidates, Tp0326 and Tp0453, were elucidated. Focusing on these regions, a chimeric protein construct was created for expression in Escherichia coli and expression conditions were optimised to produce soluble protein expression. This Tp0326/Tp0453 chimeric construct was screened against serum samples from; patients with primary, secondary, latent, and neurosyphilis and uninfected individuals. These results were directly compared to the rapid plasma regain (RPR) test, and the microhemagglutination assay for T pallidum (MHA-TP).
Results Screening results show high degrees of sensitivity and specificity for the Tp0326/Tp0453 chimeric construct, identifying all stages of syphilis infection from early primary to late latent.
Conclusion The Tp0326/Tp0453 chimera shows promise as a new diagnostic antigen for detecting all stages of syphilis infection and for development into point-of-care diagnostic test formats.
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